Posts tagged with "Barack Obama Presidential Center":

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Parking for Obama library may wipe out five acres of historic green space

Barack Obama’s Obama Presidential Center, a three-building complex designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien on Chicago’s South Side, has made its intention to embrace its neighborhood very clear—specifically Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance, the historic Frederick Law Olmsted–designed greenways that have hosted, among other things, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, a.k.a. the “White City.” But what the Center hasn’t made as clear is that the complex’s footprint is growing, with its leaders recently proposing an aboveground parking garage that could take up about five acres of the Midway. The library’s concession for eating into this space is a green roof, which opponents claim should not be considered green space at all. Original plans for the center, released in May, did not include any building on the Midway. The land is owned by the city’s Department of Transportation, and the move would need to be approved by the Chicago City Council. “To say it’s ok to carve up a work of art and replace it with something else is ridiculous,” said Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO of the Cultural Landscape Foundation. “The issue is not whether a green roof is considered green space; what’s disconcerting is the Obama Center’s insistence that they need more parkland.” When completed, the Obama Center—whose footprint currently measures roughly 20 acres—will consist of a tall, stone-clad, geometric presidential museum, a green-roofed library, and a forum for events, all clustered around a broad plaza. The greenery is meant to blend with the existing park, but will not, say critics, make up for the amount of space it is taking from the famed parks. A spokesperson for the Obama Foundation told AN: “The parking facility on the Midway will revitalize underutilized section of the Midway Plaisance. The facility will be covered and surrounded by a new park that will be open to the public.” The Chicago Park District has called three meetings for citizens to weigh in on the planned changes, particularly to Jackson Park and the Midway. “We thought a comprehensive planning process was in order,” Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry told CBS Chicago. “Now it’s happening so quickly that we don’t believe it possibly can be a real, transparent process.”
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Design unveiled for Obama Presidential Center

As part of a community meeting in Michelle Obama’s home neighborhood of South Shore, the former president and first lady unveiled the first images and a conceptual model for the future Obama Presidential Center. Described at the meeting as “more than a building or museum,” the center will be a “working center for citizenship.” Classrooms, labs and outdoor spaces will be used for programming focused on giving visitors “real tools to create change in their own communities.” A video of the design can be seen below. Located in Jackson Park, on Chicago’s South Side, the center is being designed by New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Chicago studio Interactive Design Architects. As part of the Olmsted-designed park, the complex will include 200,000 square feet of space divided into three structures—a museum, forum, and library. The three structures will great a central public plaza, while landscaping will connect the green roofs of two of the buildings to the existing park. The tallest of the buildings will be the museum portion of the center, will hold exhibitions and public space, while the forum and library will be public resources to further the civic goals of the center. “The design approach for the center is guided by the goal of creating a true community asset that seeks to inspire and empower the public to take on the greatest challenges of our time," the architects said at the meeting. "The Obamas were clear that they wanted the Center to seamlessly integrate into the Park and the community, and include diverse public spaces. Our hope is that this design for the Center interspersed with Jackson Park honors the legacy of Olmsted and Vaux and unlocks potential and opportunity for Jackson Park, the South Side, and the City of Chicago." Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel also commented: "I am thrilled to join President Obama and Mrs. Obama as we outline the vision for both the Obama Presidential Center and Jackson Park as a whole," he said. "This vision will enhance the historic landscape of Jackson Park as originally envisioned by Frederick Olmsted, and we all look forward to engaging with residents as we begin the community process to turn this vision into reality in a way that maximizes economic development and opportunity in Woodlawn, South Shore and Washington Park.”
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Michelle and Barack Obama ask for input on Presidential Center

In a video address, former President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama asked for input on the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center, the Presidential Library to be built on the South Side of Chicago. The directs the public to www.obama.org to give input on what it might want from the new institution. “The center will be based on the south side of Chicago, but it will have a projects all over the city, the country, and the world,” explained the former President. ”More than a library or a museum, it will be a living working center for citizenship. That’s why we want to hear from you. Tell us what you want this project to be. Tell us what’s on your mind.” “Tell us about the young leaders, companies, and organizations that inspire you,” added the former First Lady. “This will be your presidential center as much as it will be ours.” Planned to be built in Jackson Park, on Chicago’s South side, the Obama Presidential Center will be designed by New York-Based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA). No renderings or design details have yet to be released, and the exact location within the park has not been announced. TWBTA was chosen first from 150 firms, then a short list of seven, which included Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Snøhetta, SHoP Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and the one local office John Ronan Architects.
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How the Obama Presidential Center and a plan by wHY are reviving Chicago’s Jackson Park

Few non-buildings have an architectural pedigree that can match Chicago’s Jackson Park. The heavily forested park was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, and initially realized by Burnham and Root for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. As the home to the White City, architects from around the world flocked to the park to witness the spectacle. One anecdote states that Frank Lloyd Wright’s obsession with Japan was started upon seeing the Japanese Ho-o-Den (Phoenix Temple) at the exhibition. In the time since then, the park has gone through phases of purposeful neglect and vandalism. It has only been in recent years that a true concerted effort to improve the park has been initiated. The recent announcement that the park would be the home of the Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects–designed Obama Presidential Center shines a light once again on this often maligned stretch of the lakefront.

Well before the Obama Foundation and the Obamas chose Jackson Park, a small yet determined group had begun to transform it. Project 120 is a not-for-profit started in 2013 with the express goal of revitalizing Chicago’s South Parks. These include Jackson Park, the Midway Plaisance, and Washington park, totaling over 1,000 acres of parkland. Guiding much of the transformation’s design of Jackson Park is New York–based wHY. wHY and Project 120 worked extensively with the surrounding communities of Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore to understand the challenges of building in Chicago parks along the lake. On the same day the location for the Presidential Center was announced, open space advocates Friends of the Parks announced that they would not take legal action to oppose the project in the public park. (A lawsuit by Friends of the Parks was responsible for George Lucas’s decision to move his planned Museum of Narrative Art out of Chicago earlier this year.)

“One thing we realized, unlike many museums or large park projects at this scale, is we knew we couldn’t do it from the client top-down master plan perspective,” Mark Thomann, head of wHY’s landscape workshop, Grounds, said. “It had to be ground up. It had to be a long-term collaborative project.”

wHY’s plans integrate much of Olmsted’s original vision while adding new amenities. The most ambitious of these is a sweeping music pavilion and visitors center in the heart of the park. The first major addition to the park, though, will be a new sculpture by Yoko Ono entitled Sky Landing. The sculpture will be unveiled in October near the Garden of the Phoenix on Wooded Island, the original site of the Columbian Exhibition’s Japanese Garden. The Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Fishery & Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) program has also been working to remediate the park’s ecology with native plants and wildlife.

As designs have not been released for the Obama Presidential Center, changes to Project 120 and wHY’s framework plans will develop over the coming months. What the addition of the Presidential Center does mean is a guaranteed interest in one of Chicago’s most striking green spaces— by the city and the public.

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The Obamas choose location of presidential library

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have chosen Jackson Park to be the site of the Obama Presidential Center. According to the Tribune, the Obama Foundation has not confirmed or denied the news, but an official announcement is expected next week. Jackson Park is located on Chicago's South Side near Lake Michigan and the Museum of Science and Industry. That site was chosen over Washington Park, another large park near the University of Chicago. Jackson Park is located between the Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore Neighborhoods. Its 500 acres of forests, lawns, and ponds were designed as part of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
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Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects to design Obama Library

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) have been named the architect’s for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. The announcement was made today on the Obama Foundation website. The exact site of the project has not yet been decided. TWBTA will be collaborating with Chicago-based Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) on the project. Narrowed down from an original 150 firms, and then a short list of six, TWBTA were chosen for “their commitment to explore the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges.” In a statement on the Obama Foundation website TWBTA said, “We are deeply moved by the mission of the Obama Foundation and the role the Center can play in empowering that mission.” TWBTA is also responsible for another recent project for the University of Chicago, the patrons of the Obama Center. The Logan Center for the Arts is a multidisciplinary arts center on the southern edge of the South Side university.
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Obama library as drone aviary? Chicago Prize winners speculate on president’s legacy

The Chicago Architectural Club announced the winners of its 2014 Chicago Prize Tuesday, awarding five honors to speculative proposals for Barack Obama’s Presidential Library. Peace signs, notions of community ownership, and even drones enlivened the conceptual debate swirling around a closely watched project already wrought with its own political complications. Organizers said during a public unveiling Tuesday evening at the Chicago Architecture Foundation that they had received 103 submissions. Entrants were asked to sketch up concepts for the library on a site at the confluence of the Chicago River—one which is already home to a 53-story tower by Goettsch Partners, currently under construction. When CAC announced the topic in November, several potential library sites for the actual library had already been identified. Their locations—in and around the University of Illinois Chicago and University of Chicago campuses—exacerbated frictions between public space advocates, community residents and local politicians who would later agree to commit acres of Washington Park to the library developers. “We felt that this debate did not take place in public,” said Martin Klaschen, CAC's co-president, obliquely addressing why the competition chose the subject it did. “It's a political step that we intended not to interfere with the discussions of the other sites, and basically brought one more site into the debate.” In 2012 the prize touched on another hot topic: the imminent demolition of Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital. Despite the neutral site, winning proposals provoked debate on some political issues. One submission, Obama Drone Aviary from Craig Reschke and Ann Lui, earned a “dishonorable mention,” CAC officials joked, for its wry proposal to make Obama's the first drone-driven library in presidential history. Though it presented the concept with a straight-faced optimism, Klaschen said, the subject matter belies a critique of Obama's legacy as the face of a growing surveillance apparatus and military-industrial complex. (Lui has contributed work to AN.) Two winners were named: The design team of Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang for their ring-shaped library (seen at the top of this page) and museum crossing the Chicago River; and Aras Burak Sen for a spherical enclosure containing a “Bridge of Hope.” Honorable mentions went to two projects in addition to the drone aviary: Drew Cowdrey and Trey Kirk; and Dániel Palotai. Cowdrey and Kirk proposed “a mobile library” of portable galleries and collections that could be loaned for tours and community exhibitions, housed in a Miesian “crate” on the downtown site. “As the production of architectural narrative intervenes and conditions the visitor’s experience, we have chosen to liberate the archival core from its vernacular wrapper—recasting it as a naked and autonomous urban figure,” reads their proposal brief. Palotai's black-and-white proposal outlined an elegant series of spaces “between sky and ground” intended to speak of flexibility, personal interactions and community authorship of what could start as a series of blank canvases. SOM donated the prize money, a total of $3,250. The jurors were: Elva Rubio, Stanley Tigerman, Brian Lee of SOM, Andy Metter of Epstein, Geoffery Goldberg, and Dan Wheeler of Wheeler Kearns. Chicago Architectural Club has details, full proposal PDFs, and a video of the awards ceremony on their website.
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Snøhetta, Allied Works, and others propose dramatic schemes for Obama library In Hawaii

Not to be outdone by proposals in Chicago and New York, Snøhetta and WCITARCHITECTURE have thrown their hats into the ring for the Obama Presidential Library, sketching a unique building in the President's home state of Hawaii. If selected, their Barack Obama Presidential Center, affiliated with the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, would take its cues from the forms of both a coral reef and the area's undulating topography. The building would curve around a central courtyard and emerge from the ground with a sloped, planted roof. According to Dawn Hirai, a spokesperson for the presidential center, the proposal is meant to be conceptual, providing the Obama Foundation "an 'idea' of what can be done on the ocean front site." Other ambitious concepts for the 8-acre, state-supplied site were created by Allied WorksMOS with Workshop-HI, and Ferraro Choi. An elevated public terrace of the Snøhetta and WCIT building would provide unobstructed views of the famous Point Panic surf break, the Honolulu skyline, and the crater-like Diamond Head State Monument, the island's most famous landmark. Lifting the building will provide space for an attached park, containing local fixtures like fish ponds, taro fields, and salt pans. Inside the building would contain exhibit spaces, meeting rooms, a restaurant, and facilities for affiliated organizations. According to ABC News, the Obama Foundation, which is overseeing the library competition, has accepted four final proposals. The president and first lady are expected to select the winning bid for the roughly $500 million project by March.
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University of Chicago releases details on Obama Library proposal

While speculation around the Barack Obama Presidential Library continues to swirl, plans for one of the project's four potential sites just became a bit clearer. The University of Chicago, where the President taught law, made public this week new renderings and details of their bid for the nation's 14th such library, trotting out sunny images that show the economic development potential of investment in the South Side areas surrounding Washington Park. The University of Chicago is among four finalists selected to vie for the library, whose governing nonprofit is expected to deliver a decision later this year. (Hawaii, New York City, and the University of Illinois Chicago also submitted proposals in December.) They proposed two sites, according to the Chicago Tribune: one in western Jackson Park, bounded by South Stony Island Avenue to the west, South Cornell Avenue to the east, East 60th Street to the north and East 63rd Street to the south; the other in western Washington Park and 11 acres outside of it, stretching as far west as South Prairie Avenue, and encompassing the Garfield Green Line stop. Both areas include land not owned by the University, which an anonymous source close to the deliberations previously told the Tribune could make the committee “hesitant to commit” to the plans. The sites each measure in excess of 20 acres, but only a fraction of that is slated for the library itself and accompanying structures. Nonetheless some open space advocates have accused the proposal of cannibalizing park land. Charles A. Birnbaum, president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, penned an op-ed in the Huffington Post lamenting, “we still have to deal with retrograde thinking that views parks as dumping grounds and places to put 'stuff.'” Washington Park, which borders the University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner, Calvert Vaux, the designers of New York City's Central Park. But Susan Sher, who is leading the the University of Chicago's library bid, told the Tribune's Melissa Harris it's common for such projects to include existing park space. “When you look at the possibilities and the criteria of having enough space for the legacy of a major historical figure, you can't just plop it in the middle of a shopping center,” she said. The University's hometown competitor, UIC, proposed a park that would bridge the Eisenhower Expressway, as well as economic development and community resources for underserved West Side areas. While UIC's proposal is more straightforward in its ownership, it also faces obstacles. Illinois' new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, is expected to appoint a new chancellor of the public university system, which could sow uncertainty about the institution's library plans. Despite the new images and site boundaries, plans for the hotly anticipated library project remain unclear. In addition to selecting a host institution, the library foundation committee will also need to hire an architect, who will ultimately decide on the library's form and exact location. The plans newly made public by the University of Chicago are scant on details for that reason, although they do allude to an "education corridor" along 63rd Street, and a "cultural ribbon" that would connect Washington Park with a "renewed Jackson Park."